Co-founders Babak Movassaghi, SF ’14, and Christopher Lee, PhD ’18, join Christopher Reichert, MOT ’04, to share how the entrepreneurial ecosystem at MIT brought them together and led to the launch of their digital health and technology startup, InfiniteMD.
Sloanies Talking with Sloanies is a conversational podcast with alumni and faculty about the MIT Sloan experience and how it influences what they're doing today. Subscribe and listen on Apple Podcasts, Google, and Spotify.
Christopher Reichert: Welcome to Sloanies Talking with Sloanies, a candid conversation with alumni and faculty about the MIT Sloan experience and how it influences what they're doing today. So, what does it mean to be a Sloanie? Over the course of this podcast, you'll hear from guests who are making a difference in their community, including our own, very important one here at MIT Sloan.
Hi, I'm your host, Christopher Reichert, and welcome to Sloanies Talking with Sloanies. My guests today are Christopher Lee, PhD from 2018, and Babak Movassaghi, a Sloan Fellow from 2014. Welcome to you both.
Babak Movassaghi: Thanks for having us.
Christopher Lee: Thank you very much for having us.
Christopher Reichert: Great to have you! They are the founders of InfiniteMD, which virtually connects patients with leading medical specialists to give advice on treatment plans and diagnoses. But before I start the conversation, let me just give you a bit of a background on Babak and Christopher.
Babak is a 2014 graduate of the Sloan Fellows program, one of his many degrees, including a Master of Science in physics, theoretical physics, quantum optics laser physics from, here we go, I'm going to try to pronounce this, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf. That's an alarming number of umlauts. And a PhD from the University of Utrecht in medical physics, studying advanced techniques for three-dimensional reconstruction of coronary arteries.
Along the way he worked for Phillips Health Care, 2nd.MD, and Flex, focusing on innovation and new ventures, which all set him up for the last three-plus years at InfiniteMD. Wait, there's more actually, there's his time in the NFL in Europe, and with the Rhein Fire. And I think they finished first one year when you were playing in 1996, was it? Did I get that right?
Babak Movassaghi: Very good. I'm impressed. Yes, they won the World Bowl.
Christopher Reichert: That's excellent. So, not to be out done, Christopher is a 2018 graduate of both MIT and Harvard Medical School with the Health Science Technology program. He has a PhD in medical engineering, a Master of Science in engineering, with a focus on bioengineering innovation design from Johns Hopkins, and a Bachelor of Science, summa cum laude, no less, in biomedical engineering from UConn, where presumably, you cheered on UConn women's basketball, one of the most successful dynasties with 11 national titles, right?
Christopher Lee: Absolutely, absolutely. And I was also there in 2011 when the men's team won the national championship. So that was a fun year as well.
Christopher Reichert: Excellent, excellent. Christopher was also the co-director of the MIT Hacking Medicine, and I think Babak, you were involved in it as well, that's where you met, we'll cover that in a minute. And a co-founder of a Recon Therapeutics, a World [sic Global] Shaper at the World Economic Forum and a Forbes 30 under 30.
So, while we're on the Forbes list, let me mention one of my earlier podcasts was with Noor Sweid, who's also a board member of the Sloan Alumni Board and a graduate, MBA graduate. She was named one of the world's Top 50 Women in Tech by Forbes, so I invite our listeners to enjoy that podcast from last year, as well.
So, let's see, where to begin? Did I miss anything you want to mention at all? You guys have a Boston Dynamics robot, maybe?
Christopher Lee: No, that was very comprehensive, and a very, very kind introduction. Thank you.
Christopher Reichert: My pleasure. Well, and that was just actually this week, so let's see, what else have you guys done? Let's talk about InfiniteMD, and tell me how, am I right that you guys met at the MIT Hacking Medicine event or organization?
Babak Movassaghi: So, basically our story is quite interesting. To be honest, the way we perceive it, retrospectively, is that the MIT entrepreneurial ecosystem enabled us to meet. I had a great conversation last week catching up with Bill Aulet, and also the Martin Trust Center [for MIT Entrepreneurship], basically where he said something very interesting that resonated with me, is that MIT develops entrepreneurs and not just startups. And that's something that happened. So, I was one of the few, and hopefully soon more, Sloanies that ventured out in taking classes, Sloan classes that are in the engineering school.
So, I took the class 275, which is a MechE class, where basically healthcare professionals come in and pitch a problem and students gather around, predominantly PhD students gather around, create teams. They even get a small budget to, within a semester, come up with a solution, and many of them have become actually a startup. With Professor Alex Slocum. And that's where actually I met Chris for the first time, where now I can admit it—I didn't do my homework, and I asked if I could use his. And he said, yes, and I'm like, okay, that's cool. So we connected.
So, that's where we met. And then I actually asked Bill Aulet for advice how to be even more involved in the entrepreneurial healthcare ecosystem. He suggested, why don't you contact Professor Zen Chu, who launched MIT Hacking Medicine, that I just joined in the early days. And then Chris and I did a bunch of hackathons together, and I brought him into MIT Hacking Medicine, that he would later actually become the director of.
Christopher Reichert: That's great. And I think, interesting you mentioned about how, well, what I picked up on what you said about the sharing of the homework, is interpersonal dynamics between co-founders. Because I'm sure that during the process of founding, there's that old saying, “the forming, storming, norming and performing.” And I'm sure there were times when you had to trust the other person, enough to go with maybe their perspective on something versus yours. So, tell me a bit about that. Not just with InfiniteMD, but also the whole kind of notion of being an entrepreneur.
Christopher Lee: Yeah. Maybe I can start off on that one. And I think, if I may, Babak, I think one thing that actually brought him and I together very early on, was that I think we had very similar objectives towards what we wanted out of our MIT experience. We both, I think really wanted to be a part of the MIT ecosystem, to actually have the ability to develop something, form something, build a company together. And in the best way possible, I think our wildest dreams came true. Babak mentioned his story from the Sloan perspective, but for myself as well, I came to MIT yes, for a PhD degree, but at the same time I was also very eager to be a part of this entrepreneurial community, because I knew that it would make myself, make us, better.
So, Babak venturing over from the Sloan side to the engineering side, I was also actively venturing over to the business side from the engineering side. I helped TA “Healthcare Ventures” for example, which was a Sloan class for a number of years. Now, there are a bunch of different ways to ultimately successfully launch a company. In Hacking Medicine, we often talk about sort of ideating around a specific pain point, and gathering people around solving a problem. Babak and I, I think very early on, to your point, Chris, basically I think we determined that we made a really good team together.
And so Babak and I essentially decided that, hey, I think we make really good co-founders. We want to do something in healthcare because we also want to help others, so how about we actually go out and try to find various meaningful issues that can help people that can use technology, and team up? And so, InfiniteMD, although this is sort of the most recent success, Babak and I actually took a crack at a number of other different iterations, and different types of ventures before we ultimately settled, and took the plunge on InfiniteMD full-time together.
Christopher Reichert: Yeah. So tell me about that, because I think that's part of a lot of success stories that is brushed aside, I guess, in the notion that Bill Gates was in high school, and he founded Microsoft, and et cetera. Whereas there are other stories, which I think the truth is that you try, and throw things to see what sticks, and probably the essence of the success is giving up on some things before you get too much sunk cost on it, and then you feel like you can't give it up. So I'd love to hear more about that iterative process, painful as it might be.
Babak Movassaghi: Yeah. I think a lot of people think that true entrepreneurs, successful entrepreneurs, means that you really believe in the idea, and just don't give up on it and go all the way through. I would say that's potentially very dangerous, in particular in an early stage. So I think it's important to understand it's okay to fail, but if you do, fail fast. There does come maybe a point of no return, and then that becomes then a different philosophical question, do you really continue? And Chris and I have been with early ventures, we decided to quite quickly, and quickly means in matter of months, to say, "Nope, this is not what we want to pursue," and then we also pursued several things in parallel to pick the right one that we want to focus on.
Christopher Reichert: Yeah. I think there's the opportunity cost, right? That goes with-
Babak Movassaghi: There is an opportunity cost, yeah. The beautiful thing about doing that, there are various methodologies of going about of this. You could be participating in hackathons, we have won various competitions. We actually raised just non-diluted money out of competitions for various projects, over a quarter million of dollars, and basically where we experimented around. So, the experimentation phase is key in my personal opinion.
But once you nail it down, you really have to believe in it. And then you go all the way in, and you remove your safety net in order to make sure you are giving your best. But at the same time, you have to make it. Then it becomes really philosophical. Then it's really hard to give up on it, even though things don't look good at all at some points, and you have those ups and downs, and then you just keep on grinding. But before that, fail. If you fail, fail fast, and it's okay to fail.
Christopher Reichert: Yeah. Christopher, any other thoughts on that?
Christopher Lee: Yeah. I guess the only thing I would add too, is there are so many different classes, and different books you can read about entrepreneurship, and certainly Babak, we've certainly read a number of them. But I think at the end of the day, you still have to just experience it firsthand. It's like growing up. Your parents will tell you stuff and you're like, ah, that doesn't apply to me. And then you essentially eat dirt, and then you realize, oh hey, there was a lot of value in those lessons. And I find myself time and time again, feeling that way with entrepreneurship. Professors will give you advice, you kind of just say, "Oh yeah, sure. That sounds great, but that might not necessarily apply to me." But then once you experience that firsthand, and that firsthand experience is what earned those battle scars, and what allows you to ultimately hopefully make a better decision the next time around.
Christopher Reichert: So, you tried a few things and cast most of them aside, and then what was the revelation with InfiniteMD? I ask, because I have this kind of soreness on my shoulder, and we're doing a Zoom. I thought maybe you could... No, I'm kidding. But seriously, what tipped to go all in on this idea?
Babak Movassaghi: Yeah. I think first of all, we do have to de-risk whatever you do, and at least give yourself as possible a chance. And I think that's what the MIT Sloan classes at Sloan and also others outside, when I ventured out more in a technical space, taught us. So you can eliminate some of these factors. One of the main reasons why startups fail is founder's dilemma, where basically there are so many cases that we've done, we've ended up saying, okay startups just fail because there is a discrepancy between the vision of the founders and they just don't get along, one of them wants to leave, and then the equity and all that stuff. So, you got to really nail that down, and that was our philosophy.
So we were actually three co-founders initially, so we also have the benefit in this ecosystem, in the Kendall ecosystem, but also further up to have the Harvard Medical School affiliation. And Chris went to HST, and through a good friend of ours, one of our cardiologists, Maulik Majmudar, who was initially interested as well, but then decided not to leave his full-time job. Maybe good for him, because now he's the Chief Medical Officer at Amazon.
But he introduced us to Liz Kwo, who is an MD MBA from Harvard, and she was a successful already entrepreneur. And the three of us teamed up, and really tried to nail down, get rid of the founder's dilemma. Because I think if you do that, then you de-risk 50%. It's never a hundred percent, so that was the goal. And then, by evaluating all these businesses and startups, opportunities, we kept on getting calls because of the great network we have with physicians, in particular specialists. Where friends like you would call and say, "I have this shoulder pain, and I've been seeing orthopedics, but I don't know, he wants me to do a surgery. Do I really need a surgery? Should I do try something else first?"
And we're like, "Hey, you know what? Where are you? You're in Germany, okay. Why don't you just take a picture of your medical records, or upload it on box.com, which is HIPAA compliant, and have it translated and have one of the top orthopedics here, take a look at it at Brigham, and can reevaluate that?" And then we did that on a regular basis, and the results were phenomenal. The least you can get out of was ease of mind, so, "Ah, I should get the surgery. Oh, I have cancer, is it the right treatment?" But a lot of times it turned out they would say, "Oh my God, don't do that," and then we're like, "Wait a minute, we're up to something here." So, that's basically how it also came about, from the international aspect.
Christopher Reichert: Yeah. So I was curious about how your, so obviously you guys have a very deep medical background with your studies, Harvard, MIT, and overseas as well. And so, I'm curious how you were able to get top physicians to buy into... It's kind of funny, when I saw this, I was like, of course. The same way we probably all think about Uber or Airbnb, wow, what a natural idea to bring the expertise and use the internet platforms or what not together. But I guess you still have to get people to buy into it. Airbnb might have had people saying, "Well, I don't want strangers in my house," or Uber saying, "I don't want strangers in the back of my car." So, what was your pitch to get the talent, to get the network effect going?
Christopher Lee: Sure, I can start us off on that. And frankly, truthfully, initially it was actually very hard. And this is actually where being a part of a strong entrepreneurial healthcare ecosystem, meaning Harvard, MIT, the City of Boston.
Christopher Reichert: Boston, right.
Christopher Lee: Right. And of course, as you mentioned, Babak and I, as well as our third co-founder Liz, having spent our entire careers in medicine, healthcare research, we initially kind of had our own personal networks that we were able to pull upon. But truth be told, the first initial up to a hundred physicians were really, really hard to recruit. And Chris, exactly to the point you said, "Who are you to just come knocking on my door to ask for an expert consultation? Is your platform legit? Do you actually know what you're doing, InfiniteMD?"
And so, initially it was hard, but we were able to draw upon the support of the community, as well as our individual networks to be able to make that happen. But then very quickly after that, we were able to achieve a critical mass of physicians. And then it created very positive momentum, and we discovered that physicians make a recommendation to their peer to say, "Hey, the InfiniteMD platform is seamless, and we are able to offer very, very awesome consultations on it," then it creates a snowball effect that allowed us to grow the network organically a lot faster.
Now, we have institutional relationships, for example, with Boston Children's Hospital, UCSF, and so that helps grow the network exponentially if you will. But initially, it was very, very difficult.
Babak Movassaghi: Yeah. I might want to add to that. Chris nailed it, it was really, really hard. And when it comes to those decisions, is this the right business we're doing? Is this the right business strategy? Just because you knock on so many doors and you get a lot of rejections, does that mean you give up? But then you have those key figures that are renowned in this space that are like, "I like you guys, let me give it a shot." And then once you have them on. So I think from a business perspective, there's great articles about this, if you have a two-sided marketplace like Uber or Airbnb in our case, top specialists and the patient, what do you go after first? Do you try to get basically, the drivers or the homeowners, or the doctor first, or do you go try to get the customers first?
And the answer I believe, is rightfully documented in various publications, you go get the providers first. And what Airbnb did is very smartly, we also read a lot of case studies on this, where they actually went and took [pictures themselves], make these homes look beautiful, and not just upload your own pictures initially, to make the first couple of hundred homes look very nice.
Christopher Reichert: Appealing.
Babak Movassaghi: We did the same. Actually, with Liz, we actually went and took pictures, and actually, video recorded these physicians, these few physicians we had and put them on camera, and professional filming crew and made them look good. And then, when others saw that, they're like, "I want to be on your platform, this looks great. This physician is there." So, it's a two-sided market space, and the decision was going by the book. So, that's one area where education did help.
Christopher Reichert: And I guess I had two other questions on this. One has to do with the whole, I guess, the life cycle of a patient, and specific with regard to the payment process? I know that my own experience with engaging with the medical profession, whether it's trying to talk to my doctor, or get information from them, until very recently has been almost archaic. You have to go sit in front of the doctor to get some advice. You can't do phone calls, or they're not the same, and part of that was that maybe there are HIPAA components to that. But I think most of the time they couldn't claim that time against their billing systems, insurance companies wouldn't recognize it as legitimate. So, I'm curious how you overcame that or was that not an issue five years ago?
Christopher Lee: So, we work with a lot of partners internationally. For example, Chris, we work with international insurance companies, overseas we work with medical consulting companies, hospitals, et cetera. Here in the U.S., we work with employers, brokers, self-insured patient populations. So as a business, we typically work primarily with partners. The reason for that, and I don't have to dive into why we have a very, very interesting healthcare system here in the U.S., but the reason for that is these enterprise self-insured patient populations usually assume the costs for the lives that they cover. And so with InfiniteMD, we're able to offer these employers and these self-insured entities, cost savings.
So, going back to your shoulder pain, if you go see an orthopedic specialist and say, "Hey, I have shoulder pain," if you see a shoulder surgeon, chances are they understand shoulder surgery, so they're going to offer you a surgical treatment. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's the right treatment. So we see this a lot in orthopedics. Just to use as an example, a study has shown that over 50% of a lot of orthopedic based spine surgeries are totally unnecessary. But they're also very, very expensive, and these costs ultimately fall upon these organizations themselves when they assume the cost of the lives that they cover.
And so, we work with partners to sell essentially our technology, as well as our service to them, to offer them cost savings. But more importantly, we offer them better patient outcomes, because they have a more holistic approach to their care. They don't just have to get the opinion of a surgeon, without actually also getting an opinion from someone else that can actually offer a very viable alternative.
Christopher Reichert: Yeah. Which actually brings me to a question. One of the things I was struck by something you said, Christopher about, and I read this on the MIT news article about you guys. So, a couple of things. One is that second opinions and expert consultations are inherently complex. You said, “you have 30 to 60 minutes to share everything but the care with an expert and the expert has to be brought onto the same page to create a valuable interaction.” As a consumer of healthcare, not intensely, but obviously I have a doctor and whatnot, how would I ever get into the groove of saying, “well, before I have some procedure, I'm going to turn to InfiniteMD?” How am I given that option, I guess is my question?
Babak Movassaghi: Yeah, I think I can take that. So basically, most of our cases are severe diseases, where there's oncology, a lot of pediatrics, musculoskeletal, neurology, but also more and more behavioral health. So, basically, patients have to make tough decisions, and I see ourself more in the information business. So all we do, is we connect the dots, we're giving a top specialist, inform you about the options you have in terms of the treatment, and the respective risk associated with it. Now, how you would come to us, unfortunately in the U.S. most of the time, it depends on your employer. Basically, is this part of your benefits, right? Or your insurance company.
Christopher Reichert: Employer-based healthcare.
Babak Movassaghi: Yeah. So the patients themselves, we are very... We're not super expensive, but we're not cheap. So, you would go to your benefit department and see if this is there, and it is our job to communicate with the employers to market this internally, to increase the utilization. And more and more employers are, I think one third has, approximately 38%, 40%, have second opinions now. But especially with COVID, more and more are getting it, in particular, because it's a virtual consultation. So, the specialist that would see you because of your shoulder, would not necessarily need to examine you, because they have their respective MRI's and CT scans, whatever you have, x-rays if necessary, and could do all that remotely.
Christopher Reichert: Right. That makes a lot of sense. You mentioned COVID-19, I would have to see how that altered your business plan. But one thing you mentioned earlier was that you were very early Zoom users. So without getting too deep into Zoom, I'm curious how you've seen it evolve from the time that most of us have really dived into it in the last six months. How was it in the early days, compared to now?
Babak Movassaghi: I'll let Chris do that, but we did everything right when it comes to selecting the right platform, the only thing we missed out is to invest in their stocks!
Christopher Lee: Yeah. Babak and I, I can say we're techie people, and we really embodied that MVP thing, your minimally viable product. And so when we first went to market in the very early days of InfiniteMD, we put together the most beautiful external-facing shell and user interface, but on the backend it was a total mess. And we cobbled together various off the shelf things to ultimately prove a business model, prove a service, prove a product. And we're happy to say when we discovered Zoom, Zoom just worked.
We had a lot of consults internationally initially, and Zoom worked really well overseas, and it didn't have a plugin that you needed to download, whereas a lot of these other vendors have sort of additional software that you download, install. As you might imagine, a lot of these patients are older and they're not necessarily the most tech-savvy. And so, we wanted it to create as simple of a consumer user experience as possible, and so that really lended itself to Zoom. So, we were early Zoom users back in 2015.
Christopher Reichert: That's excellent. And I noticed you guys have been acquired by a ConsumerMedical, is that still underway, or is that completed? Tell us about that next phase.
Babak Movassaghi: So, that is completed. Chris and I, and Liz, we had our first big exit, so we're very proud of-
Christopher Reichert: Congratulations!
Babak Movassaghi: We've been working with them for quite some time. Basically ConsumerMedical has been an InfiniteMD supporter over two years, we had a great partnership. In order to initiate our go-to-market strategy, when I took over as the CEO a little bit over two years ago, was basically making some tough decisions on how to tackle the market. We had everything in place except a business development team to go and tackle the market. And we were about to build that, but then we made the choice, what is important for us, as individuals and as founder?. And it truly came down to, look, we want to have a huge impact in this world. And it will take us a couple of years until we have those big numbers of people we could help.
So, an alternative is always to go to an existing channel partner. ConsumerMedical was one of those channel partners that actually approached us. And they said, "Why don't you guys do cases for us?" I'm like, "No, no, no. Why don't you give us all your cases? Let's just partner up. Let's be partners." Which resonated very well with their CEO, David Hines, because once he understood that our cultures are very similar, it's about helping patients, impactful, concierge service, the white glove, we said, this resonated a lot. They were actually one of our series B investors back in 2019, so it was a match.
And when COVID hit, their volume increased significantly, and therefore ours. And we were a virtual health company in specialty medicine for second opinions, there are not many out there. And full transparency, and I can say that without saying names because of NDA's, but we were approached also by other companies to get acquired. And we thought CM [ConsumerMedical] is a company that we trust, we like, we love, and it's very complimentary. So, once you get a second opinion, "Here you go, Chris, don't get the surgery, you should get PT." Now what? What do you do next? So these guys are very good in navigating you to get an in-person local treatment with a top specialist.
Christopher Reichert: The 360 patient care, right?
Babak Movassaghi: Exactly, so that's why it was a great fit. We are in the midst of integration right now as we speak, and things are going phenomenally well.
Christopher Lee: Yeah, Babak nailed it. We're a lot stronger of a product together, and a lot more complete of a product offering to the market, by joining forces.
Christopher Reichert: That's excellent. How did you guys choose Sloan? I mean, with all the educational backgrounds that you have, and the Master's here and... How did you guys decide on coming to Cambridge and Sloan, and MIT?
Babak Movassaghi: I can give it a shot first. I hope my old boss at Philips is not listening to this. But what happened-
Christopher Reichert: I hope he is. I thought everybody was!
Babak Movassaghi: When I was at Philips Healthcare, I really wanted to make a bigger impact, and Phillips was a phenomenal company. I was involved in the interventional cardiology department doing some really innovative, cool stuff with the team there, later EP department. But I always had this entrepreneurial drive, and I wanted to bring more entrepreneurship within the company. So when I applied, I was one of the folks that was selected to be one of these top tier employees, and get executive education. And I actually selected the entrepreneurship development program at Sloan back in 2011, that is led by Bill Aulet.
So, it was a one-week course at MIT Sloan, where I was inhaling and drinking out of the water hose for one week, what the entrepreneur ecosystem is, and what the mission statement is for this. It really is about making an impact, and a positive impact in the world. That fully resonated with me, and I got hooked. I'm like, oh my God, I love this. So, a few years later, two years later, I quit, and I applied for Sloan, got into the Sloan Fellows. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I've made. I also had other options in terms of business schools, but I thought the Sloan mission would resonate best from my personal view.
Christopher Reichert: So, before I turn to Christopher, let me just ask you a couple of follow-up questions though. Do you have a favorite Sloan memory? And Christopher, you'll get your chance too.
Babak Movassaghi: Yes, I do. I actually met some of my current, other than Chris, best friends at Sloan. I'm actually going to meet one of them in a couple of hours, Brazilian Felipe Ruiz, and Sylvia from Italy. So we had a phenomenal trip to Brazil, and we ended up going to Rio, it was a great experience meeting other like-minded people on a personal level during this trip. So the Sloan trip to Brazil, and Chile, was one of the best. And interesting things happened that I'm not going to talk about, but-
Christopher Reichert: What stays in Brazil, what happens in Brazil...?
Babak Movassaghi: Yeah. There was drinking involved, together with some professors and all, it was phenomenal.
Christopher Reichert: That's great. And speaking of professors, do you have a favorite or a course that you wish you could do over or take?
Babak Movassaghi: I have a lot of favorites. So, I also want to mention that the Sloan professors during this journey have supported us. So, I've met with some of them on a regular basis. So basically, Pierre [Azoulay] is one of them, but also Zen Chu, as well as what resonated with me is also the strategic class of marketing strategy with Duncan [Simester], I don't know if you had Duncan. But also Scott Stern. So all of these resonated with me.
Scott's class taught us that strategy, in order to come up with a company strategy, you have to first do your mission statement. The mission statement, once you have that written somewhere, that defines your strategy and helps you to guide which way you want to go. Our mission statement was clear, we want to democratize access to information from top specialists to make more informed decisions, no matter of your geographic location. That mission statement basically identified our strategy. And of course, as I mentioned before, the Trust Center, and Bill Aulet’s influence was huge.
Christopher Reichert: That's great. Christopher, how about you? What about choosing MIT over other places?
Christopher Lee: Yeah. I'm an engineer, a nerd by training, and I think for many engineers like myself, it's always a dream to come to MIT. I never thought that it was something that would be possible, and I had an opportunity to go. I never actually saw myself as an academic, but I was very lucky at the time that I had some mentors along the way, that said, "Chris, you should go there, and chances are you're going to run into wonderful people, and that's going to open up your mind to the next chapter of your life," and they were not wrong whatsoever. That's exactly what happened.
One thing I have to commend MIT on, I always feel so grateful for, is just how open the community is. It's one of the few schools that I think, where as an engineering student, I can just wander over to the Sloan campus, and just take a Sloan class, no questions asked. And I was able to do that a number of times, that kind of balanced some of the more menial lab work, but it made the whole experience so wonderful that I could just... And same for Babak, he kind of wandered over to the engineering side of campus and joined an engineering class. I hope that's something that MIT never changes, that we would never have met if the schools weren't as collaborative as they are. And the resources, and of course just how open the faculty avail themselves, really just make MIT a wonderful community.
Christopher Reichert: So, are there any do-overs, or classes that you wish you had taken, that you would like to have an opportunity to take now?
Christopher Lee: I mean, all of them. So many, so many.
There are so many things now, that I try to fill my time by, like reading books. But there's so many, I wouldn't say there's necessarily any in particular. However, I was kind of a Sloan wannabe myself, but I do have some great memories. I remember I took Professor Anjali Sastry's Global Health Action Learning Lab, took a wonderful trip to India with a bunch of actually Sloan friends. And that also really changed my perspective and outlook on healthcare as well, seeing how different it is in under-resourced environments. It was a very, very strong and powerful memory I have in my time at Sloan, even though I wasn't an official Sloan student.
Christopher Reichert: So, I have a question for you both. It is, what is the definition of success for you? Which, looking at your background, you've had a lot of success. Academic success, business success now, and here you've just sold your company successfully. Tell me, what is your definition of success as you look back, for that matter if you look forward to what's next?
Christopher Lee: That's a tough question.
Babak Movassaghi: How about you give it a shot?
Christopher Lee: Alright. I think it's very philosophical for me, but with everything going on in the world and me sort of more and more realizing how it's so difficult to plan, and have expectations on things, I think what I hope I can carry with myself for the rest of my career, my life, is I want to stay physically healthy, I want to stay mentally healthy, I want to surround myself with people that I love, people that love me, and people that I have respect for. And then, I think the rest of success is just taking shots on goal.
Obviously I would love to, I have other goals and there are a lot of things I want to see and I want to accomplish still, but I think it comes back to just staying physically, mentally fit, and surrounding yourself with wonderful people. And if I can continue that, then I'll always count that as a huge success.
Babak Movassaghi: Yeah, that resonates with me, Chris. And we have a lot of philosophical conversations regarding this matter, especially in the last couple of months. We were so, so busy when COVID hit, and we tried to help hospitals, physicians, and our nurses that are coping with the situation and helping folks. So, I think success, before I try to explain my definition, but what I can tell you, and I've been quoted for this, because that comes from sports. I believe that first of all, success comes to whom who work very hard while they wait. And also, the success is a journey to achieving your goals, but it is so important, and I have to remind myself about it, it is not the goal itself a lot of times, it's the way you get to the goal.
We achieved our goal. Are we successful entrepreneurs? Depending on how you measure it, an exit, that's considered today as a success. But I also would argue, anybody who has different goals in life, for example, to be a good family person or to help others, its what's beautiful. And me personally, I have actually a list of objectives that I want to hit in life, and that determines other objectives. And every decision I make in life, does it bring me closer to these objectives or no? And it is important to make sure that in these objectives, that items that Chris mentioned are included. To me, it's inner peace, to the living more in the now, and supporting, and being closer and healthy, with family and friends. Those are my objectives, and if I achieve them, then I consider that a success.
Christopher Reichert: That's great, that's great. So, in keeping with the sports from earlier, we talked about football, which actually we didn't get a chance to talk about your NFL time. But also with the basketball, with you, I kind of want to bring in ice hockey, with Wayne Gretzky talked about how he plays to where the puck is going to be. And I think it's safe to say that you guys with InfiniteMD, really played to where the puck was going to be, with virtual medical consultation. So congratulations on that, and it's been a great pleasure to talk to you both today.
Christopher Lee: Thank you so much.
Babak Movassaghi: Thank you, Chris. Thank you so much for having us.
Christopher Reichert: Yeah, thank you. I want to thank Babak Movassaghi, and Christopher Lee for joining us today on another edition of Sloanies Talking with Sloanies. Thanks very much.
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